I was recently afforded the opportunity and privilege to speak on attorney Audrey Thomas’s radio show, The Empowerment Hour, which airs every Wednesday night at 11 p.m. est. on 93.5...
It is typical in New York for your divorce case to be adjourned several times and it can take several months, if not years, before all issues are actually resolved. This is unfortunate since most spouses, after they make the decision to divorce, want to obtain their divorce immediately. Given the backlog of the court’s calendar, it may be to the benefit of both parties to consider alternative options such as mediation or arbitration.
Divorce mediation is a voluntary process where a third-party neutral helps spouses negotiate with one another by facilitating communication between them and addressing the individual needs of both the spouses and their children. Divorce mediators are generally familiar with divorce law and act as an agent of reality throughout the negotiation stage of the mediation. Generally, mediation provides a wide-array of benefits to spouses. First, it saves spouses time. Second, it saves spouses money. Third, it can be less stressful than litigation. Fourth, it is less burdensome for spouses in terms of schedule since most mediators will conduct sessions after work or on weekends. Last and most important, because divorce mediators are generally familiar with divorce law, spouses are provided with the legal knowledge necessary to protect their rights and interests.
Arbitration is another alternative option to litigation where a third-party neutral acts as a judge in your case. Given the authoritative role of an arbitrator, it is important to hire an arbitrator who has extensive experience and knowledge in divorce law. The benefit of arbitration is having someone decide your case without having to go to court. It is also a more private and convenient forum for spouses to have their case heard. The downside to arbitration however is that because not all issues can be arbitrated, it does not promote finality.
However, whether spouses are able to resolve only some or all issues in either mediation or arbitration, it may help to expedite the divorce process and should be taken into consideration.